“As the results for Q3 pour in and looking in Q4’s revenue projection, it is clear that a reduction is force is immanent. Please prepare a list of the bottom quartile”, wrote EVP HR Gloria Lemieux to all senior managers-by text message!
Mike Shapiro, Head of Deployment for Europe and Asia Pac, called all his area presidents and conveyed the grisly message. Deming Li (Head of China, Taiwan and Korea) sent Mike an email, cc’ing all his direct reports, that corporate HR should take care of employees and not lend a hand to cutting jobs from overworked engineers which will result in less people doing more work.
Mike was livid when he read De-Ming’s email; two weeks later in a meeting in Singapore, Mike asked Deming for the list of names, and De-Ming stormed out of the meeting and flew back to Shanghai.
However, in parallel, Deming’s HR clerk, Sally Ngai-Lam Xu, was providing Gloria with all the data and names that were needed.
Mike wanted to remove De-Ming for “immaturity” and a consultant was brought into the picture. Deming explained to Allon that the Reduction of Force is completely justified but De-Ming needed to show his people that he was “protecting them”.
Allon sat with Mike and explained the role of the leader in different cultures.
Mike (from Billings, Oregon) told Allon: “Listen, this is not an issue of anthropology; it is a question of managerial maturity.”